Grievance Politics Trumps Rational Thought


CNN and MSNBC both had similar panels. Elizabeth Warren could ONLY (by implication) have lost because of …

Amanda Terkel / HuffPost:

Elizabeth Warren Could Never Escape The Baggage Of Being A ‘Female Candidate’  —  She was qualified.  She persisted.  But sexism still mattered.  —  Elizabeth Warren wasn’t trying to be the first female president.  —  She wanted to be president.  She wanted to cut banks down to size and relieve student debt.

This was the original article written yesterday before Warren dropped out:

Jessica Valenti / GEN?—?:

It Will Be Hard to Get Over What Happened to Elizabeth Warren  —  I’ve had to come to terms with America’s sexism again and again  —  knew going into Super Tuesday that Elizabeth Warren was unlikely to win big.  I had prepared myself for that.  What did take me by surprise, though …

I know. On Facebook, I had to bite my tongue mightily when a poster wrote a long bit about how Bernie’s loss showed JUST HOW PREVALENT ANTISEMITISM is in America.


Moreover, the author was a Black woman.

We are headed down a dark and stupid road.

Elizabeth Warren ran as a presidential candidate and lost as a presidential candidate.

She did not run with the sole justification that she is a woman.

Bernie Sanders ran as a presidential candidate and lost as a presidential candidate (Super Tuesday, I mean).

He did not run with the justification that he is a Jew.

In both cases, I believe that the electorate saw them for their issues, and NOT for what was between their legs, or who their parents were. Certainly not primarily, nor, perhaps even significantly. No one denies that prejudice exists in our society, but it ought not be used as justification unless clearly shown to be present and determinative.

That is the essence of American democracy, and while we have not been perfect by any means, to claim that some cherry-picked “minority” difference was the sole engine of an election — THIS election — is a monumental insult to American democracy and the writer needs to be called out.

Except that the writer will then, almost undoubtedly, claim the SELFSAME justification for said writer’s “oppression,” and never considering that, instead of societal prejudice, the conclusion is entirely based on the writer’s self-evident identification as a martyr to the cause of whatever category of humanity the writer chooses to self-identify with.

Many years ago, a rather obnoxious Latina politico was standing around a fundraiser, while I was talking to the Portland head of a Latino alliance. She came over to greet us and exchange pleasantries. And then, suddenly, “I cannot bear how little respect is shown to our minority in Oregon politics.”

Out of the blue. A grievance trump card, played for no other reason than to slam … me?

I replied: “Last time I checked, women were the majority in the population and in Oregon voter registration.”

This completely flummoxed her, mostly because she WAS a woman, but I had CHOSEN the wrong minority, and the look on her face nearly caused my Portland Latino friend to spew beer out his nose and effected her exit — as I’d hoped it would.

We are all MANY minorities. HE got it. She didn’t.

But too many want to wield it* as a cudgel. It is too often a tactic for getting an edge, rather than a legitimate grievance for unwarranted prejudice.

*[“It” meaning the quality CHOSEN at the time. I, for instance am a member of the following minorities, any of which I’m entitled to get into High Dudgeon over if needs be: left-handed, Buddhist, blond-haired (NOT bottle), diabetic, elder-American (or, sometimes, “honored citizen” in some diners), blue-eyed, male, National Merit Scholar, ex-Wyoming resident, musician, blood type, etcetera.]

pie chart

here is an illustrative pie chart

Unless and until we can grow up about this stuff, the least worthy will abuse it to get ahead and the most worthy will be just as bad off — if not moreso — as before because they will not be believed. 

It’s a variation of “The boy who cried wolf” by Aesop.

And here’s his moral:

Liars are not believed even when they speak the truth.

Mine is that you really ought to look at the other issues that caused Elizabeth Warren’s loss (I began this election cycle in her corner, but changed my mind over policy issues) other than a candidate’s vulva or circumcision.



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